News sources report a fragment of the “True Cross” was recently stolen from St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic church in San Francisco, California (photo shows empty case after theft). See one of the news stories far below.
According to legend, Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine, traveled to Palestine around 326-328 AD in search of relics associated with Jesus Christ and allegedly discovered the actual cross that Jesus was crucified upon. She supposedly took a portion of the cross back to Constantinople but left the majority of it in Jerusalem. The invading Catholic crusaders of the Middle Ages were said to have taken fragments of the cross from Constantinople back to Europe. Many Catholic churches claimed to have a fragment of the cross. John Calvin coyly remarked:
“There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poitiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it.”
What are Christians to make of all of this? Did Helena actually discover Jesus’s actual cross 300 years after His crucifixion? The chances of that happening would have been most assuredly less than zero. But this whole “true cross” business is an interesting example of Catholic syncretism. Roman paganism relied heavily on amulets, talismans, and other good luck charms. Possessing such articles portended good health and prosperity. As the early church transitioned from simple, saving faith in Jesus Christ to institutionalized religious legalism, it borrowed from paganism and proclaimed that relics and other physical objects (candles, holy water, medals, crucifixes, etc.) would obtain blessings for the possessor or worshipper. Consequently, religious objects and ritual became the focus rather than seeking a right spiritual relationship with the Creator. Accumulating a few famous relics assured a church a steady stream of money-paying pilgrims eager to receive blessings.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:25
Material objects mean nothing. If one person possessed Jesus’s entire cross, His crown of thorns, the whip that shredded His back, and the nails that held Him to the cross it would do them absolutely no good. It’s all worthless garbage. Repent of your sins. Accept Jesus Christ as you Savior by faith.
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Relic Believed to Be Fragment of ‘True Cross’ Missing From Catholic Church
Read more about the legendary “true cross” here.